Quick tips to help kids with routines and schedules
- Quick tip 1Give specific directions.Give specific directions.
Make sure kids understand the routine by giving specific directions and steps. For example, “It’s time to clean up your desk for the day. Please put your books and pencils inside your desk. Then throw any scraps of paper in the recycling bin.”
- Quick tip 2Make it visual.Make it visual.
Help kids follow steps by using a visual planner or picture schedule. Place it where kids can easily see it, and have them mark off what’s been done.
- Quick tip 3Record the routine.Record the routine.
Some kids may understand the directions but not remember them long enough to act. Record the verbal directions on a phone or tablet. Or make a simple video of the routine. This lets kids replay the information at any time.
- Quick tip 4Praise the effort.Praise the effort.
Even if kids don’t follow every step of a routine or schedule perfectly, praise them for what they completed. Ask what they could try next time to complete all of the steps. This kind of feedback builds self-esteem and encourages kids to keep trying.
Kids’ days are full of routines. But for many, following a routine or schedule is difficult. Sticking to a routine or schedule involves many skills — it’s harder than it seems.
There are lots of reasons kids don’t stick to daily routines and schedules. Often, it’s a once-in-a-while thing that’s not an issue. Kids get sidetracked, are preoccupied, or just don’t feel like doing it.
For some kids, though, not following routines is a regular problem. Trouble with organization, keeping track of time, and paying attention are a few reasons kids struggle with routines. These skills are part of a larger group of thinking skills known as .